Knox United in Lower Sackville, N.S., is joining the food truck trend, but not to sell gourmet poutine to hungry passersby. Their truck provides free soup and sandwiches to hungry youngsters.
The food truck is an extension of the monthly community meal started by Knox and other local churches and community groups in 2016. That meal went from feeding 15 people to 225, but when organizers looked at the demographics of those attending, they realized one group was conspicuously absent: “Youth and teens,” says Caroline Gallop, chair of Knox’s outreach committee. “They have to feel that coming to a church hall for a meal is a safe thing, and they may not feel that.”
To bridge that gap, Gallop and Rainie Murphy, who is involved with children and youth at the church, reached out to Becca Bishop, the co-ordinator of a youth meeting place in the recreation centre down the street from the church. When asked what the teens were hungry for, Bishop said snacks. Youth were arriving after school hungry, and Bishop didn’t have the budget to feed them.
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“We told our congregation what was going on and asked for donations,” Murphy says. “We provided snacks for about a year but knew that wasn’t enough.” They learned about a food truck owned by the Salvation Army, did some training and successfully applied to use the vehicle on Monday nights.
Then came a second wave of community support for the weekly food truck. One hundred and sixty volunteers have signed on to serve soup and sandwiches once a week from October to April in the recreation centre parking lot.
“We have a sponsorship from Tim Hortons,” Murphy adds. “The local franchise is sponsoring 100 cups of hot chocolate each night. The owner told us this is something Lower Sackville has needed for a long time.”
This story first appeared in December 2019 issue of Broadview with the title “Church starts free meals food truck.”
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